As the newly appointed BAME Representative for UNISON my first point of call is to open discussions surrounding the terminology that we use here at the university. 
During a recent ‘Black Members SOG’ meeting, it was brought to my attention that UNISON have opted to use the political term ‘Black’ instead of BAME or BME. According to the Union, the political term ‘Black’ is preferable in describing any person in Britain who experiences racism and diminished opportunities based on a past of colonialism and enslavement. 
We are all aware that terminology can be a difficult topic. We all have our own experiences and although many of them may be shared, there are also many that are vastly different. 
To me, the area of most importance is that members from any marginalised group feel that they can have a voice and support from those who will listen to and understand their experiences. The aim is not to separate us further, nor is it to diminish our differences so much that the point is lost. 
Although a political term is useful in discussing policy and affecting change, we cannot ignore the fact that this also represents our personal identities. 
For this reason, I would like to open discussions. It may be that collectively we feel that the term BAME is most representative of our members. In contrast, it may become clear that we need to update our terminology. This could be to follow other Unison branches, switching to the political term ‘Black’, or we may find a new term that suits us better. There are no right or wrong answers here.
Please get in touch with me (tiahna.gaskin@bristol.ac.uk) with any of your thoughts and feelings surrounding the issue. I would also ask that you discuss this with your peers, colleagues, and any groups you are a member of. 
We look forward to hearing your opinions. We will keep members updated on discussions and developments via this newsletter, our website and Branch meetings.

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